EUROGAMER 2012: A Look at Day Two of the Expo

It’s another year and another Eurogamer Expo! It seems like only yesterday the show started but now as the Expo enters its fifth year the show is bigger, slicker and sassier than ever and shows no sign of running out of steam. Anyway I’m here to give you a few of my highlights from day two of the event.

The Expo Vibe

As an old school gamer who used to loved the old UK-based gaming conventions, I’m glad the guys at Eurogamer saw fit to make their mark on the UK gaming scene with the Expo as its been something we’ve been sorely lacking. Just from wandering around the show floor you can see that the team have picked up from feedback from previous shows and as a result this show definitely feels the most polished.

I came here with a list of games I wanted to have a go on and within my first ninety minutes I had played most of them. The ones I did not manage to get on I have to admit I was not expecting to get near them anyway seeing as they were the big daddies of the con (Black Ops, Halo and Asssasin’s Creed 3 I’m looking at you) and had queues the moment the doors opened. Staff on all the stands I attended were nothing but friendly, attentive and helpful. They also keep the flow of players moving at a steady pace so that I never felt rushed to get my gaming in before being moved on but at the same time they weren’t going to allow me to spend hours on a game.

Anyway here’s a rundown of some of the things I saw that caught my eye for both good and bad reasons.

The Chill Out Zone

Set in the middle of the convention hall was an oasis of blue lighting and seats of varying shapes where visitors could relax and while deciding what they wanted to see next. At one end of the zone a large screen had been erected to allow people the opportunity to watch the live developer sessions taking place on the first floor. This was a new addition to the Expo and one that worked well I thought. It was a great for people to enjoy the sessions  who could not be bothered to join a long queue. At first I was not sure if people would be able to hear the developers about the noise of the convention floor but I did not have any problems hearing what was said and I sat right at the back of the zone.

Carrier Command: Gaea Mission

I used to love the old Carrier Command game for the Amiga and I was looking forward to seeing what an updated version looked and played like. Well what it looked like to me, from what I played of it, was a let down. The graphics were ok but I was expecting a lot more. The controls were sluggish and a little unresponsive. I mean I know I was controlling a tank like vehicle, aka a Walrus, for most of the demo but it seemed to take an age to get anywhere and the aiming when you got into combat well let’s just say even Rambo would have found it hard to take out the enemy.

What was good was that they had stuck to the basic premise of the original game of two Carriers battling to take over as many islands as possible. Maybe I was expecting too much or maybe the original game was not as good as I thought it was. On the strength of what I saw and given some of the other games now on my shopping list I don’t think I’ll be picking this up a time soon.

God of War Ascension

Sadly I never got my hands on this but did I get to watch the latest outing of gore and blood from everyone’s fave bald headed nutter (and no I don’t mean Hitman) I mean, of course Kratos – The God of War.

I’m sure it will come as no surprise when I say that the game looked spectacular and Kratos was dishing out biblical hurt like there was no tomorrow. Gameplay wise  I did not see too much difference from the other games apart some time reversal mechanic at certain points that had echoes of Prince of Persia to it. This as the other games war so great to play personally I was happy that they hadn’t messed about too much with the core game mechanics.

There were a bank of machines showing off the new multiplayer side of the game. I never felt that the God of War franchise needed multiplayer so after a quick glimpse of it I thought ‘looks solid enough’ but I was much more focused on the single player aspects of the game which is what will be taking my money when this game is launched.

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider 

I was skeptical of the whole relaunch of the Tomb Raider franchise when it was first annouced. As much as I loved Lara (no not in a seed way…well not since the therapy kicked in) I figured her adventuring crown was now in the sweaty palms of a certain Mr Drake.

As I sat down to play the demo it was set in my mind that this was going to be an Uncharted clone in which Lara’s face cleverly overlaid drake’s craggy visage. To a certain extent that was what I got but  also was surprised just how immersive and deep the short demo was. You start off near a shipwreck and it’s clear from the state of Lara that she’s already had a large plateful of hell handed to her before you take the controls. She is bloodied, bruised and nursing a nasty injury to her side.

You must navigate our young tomb raider through the inhospitable environment, help her to find shelter and learn to fend for herself. In this demo the objective is to survive and your enemies are not gun-toting artifact chasing thugs (although I did miss those) but the environment and hunger. The only ally in the demo are your wits and the trusty bow and arrow you find. The way you find the weapon, however, does not exactly fill you with confidence on Lara’s odds of survival.

Once equipped with the bow and arrow you must hunt for meat to keep your strength up in the form of shooting deer and rabbits. There’s a cut scene which shows Lara struggling to slice up the deer she’s shot but honestly I was more gutted when I took out one of the rabbits or ‘Billy Thumper’ as I named him just before Billy took one between the eyes.

The controls were solid enough as was Lara’s movement and there were some great little cut scenes as you traversed your route to heighten the danger Lara is in. Overall the demo was engaging and left me wanting more. This definitely felt both in tone and execution like Lara Croft begins. Every slip, every fall takes its toll on her and it’s clear this is not the bad ass Lara we know and love but at least not yet.

Dishonoured

Dishonoured is one of those games that kinda snuck up on me. I had not heard anything about it until a few weeks ago when suddenly everyone was talking about it and whispering about how good it looks. With its steampunk setting, stealth elements and weird powers at your disposal it was definitely on my must try list at the show.

I’m happy to report the game did not disappoint. The controls were smooth and intuitive, with some great powers at your disposal. Although I did not try all of them our the procession and time freeze where my go to abilities of choice. There was also the power to control rats but that was just too freaky for my easy freaked mind. as I saw this as a prelude to some kind of control a herd of spiders power and no one wants that.

I usually find in FPS games that stealth elements can be a mixed bag and I think I would need to have played Dishonoured a bit longer  to really get to grips with the stealth aspects of the game. I did like the way though that upon being discovered it was easy to just bring your chosen weapon  to bear and not worry about skulking in the shadows any longer. Once the killing is done you have the option to loot the body then pick it up and deposit it some suitable darkened locale.

Far Cry 3

So I drive through a road block, get chased by two jeep loads of goons. I skid off the road and using the jeep for a makeshift barrier take out both jeeps, one of them pitching over the side of a cliff. I then get back into jeep drive to the top of the hill where I find a handy hand glider. Nicking the glider I fly over the beach where I spot a speed boat so circling back round I see the boat is guarded by two guys by a jeep. Swooping in low I ditch the glider dive into water and swim to shore. Knife clenched in teeth (well in my mind it was) I sneak up on the guys, taking at one with a knife to the throat finishing his fleeing buddy with a well placed head shot. All that happened in the space of 5 to 10 minutes…nuff said..this game is now a must buy for me.

The WiiU

I would  love to say that I thought the Wi iU was great but given that I couldn’t get near the fabled new console because of the crazy queue I’ll guess I will have to wait until I can get my hands on one.

Either that or launch a Mission Impossible style raid on the Nintendo headquarters to get some face time with one of these bad boys.

So if you’re heading to the expo either tomorrow or Sunday don’t make the rookie I made. The minute those doors open head for the Wii U stand and say you’re from the BBC (or maybe leave that bit out).

Anyhoo that was it for me and day two of the Eurogamer Expo!

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Reporter: Nuge

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